Anyone who balks that comic book art isn't "real art" needs only to look to the work of a true master who sadly departed this world today. Frank Frazetta has passed away from a stroke at the age of 82.
Frazetta attended the Brooklyn Academy of Fine Arts at the age of eight and would have gone on to study in Europe had his mentor Michael Falanga not died before he could pay for him to go. Instead, he began working in comic books of all genres to make ends meet. He would eventually become most famous for his depictions of Conan.
His health had been shaky the last year and rumors started making their way around the internet earlier this afternoon of this death. It was Heidi MacDonald over at The Beat who got confirmation from Frazetta's agent, Robert Pistella. "His covers for Conan, Tarzan and other rough hewn heroes created a visceral, violent, erotic yet somehow still nuanced visual style that has been endlessly imitated but never surpassed — Frazetta’s imagery of brawny, relentless swordsmen, seductive, fleshy sirens and hellfire breathing monsters had a gut level impact because it came from the gut — his many followers were just tracing without the passion of the originals," said MacDonald.
Frazetta also had great success in the movie and music realms as his artwork was used in movie posters and album covers. However, if you wanted a Frazetta original, good luck. He was never eager to part with any of them, one of the first illustrations sold for over $200,000 in 2008 and his "Conan the Conquerer" painting sold for $1 million in 2009 to a private collector. The latter rumored to have been bought by Metallica's guitarist, Kirk Hammett.
If you want a look at some of Frazetta's work up close perhaps a visit to the Frazetta Museum in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania is in order. Lots of people are feeling this one today. Rest in peace Frank.